Given my behavioral background with high-needs individuals, it is not surprising that I have a great regard for following-through. In my years working with autism, I earned the obedience and respect of my clients only after I did what I said I was going to do. Setting clear expectations and being clear about what consequences would be before behaviors occurred was the fairest approach. Although follow-through can be unpleasant to establish in the beginning, accountability is essential for a teacher whose goal is to create an atmosphere of fairness. Once students see that your words have actions behind them, they are more likely to respond to initial redirection or warnings. Keeping students accountable also encourages them to be responsible for their own behavior, rather than assume unfair treatment or seek blame on someone other than his/herself. I will place the limits on what can and cannot happen in my classroom, while taking the opportunity to point out that common sense expectations are not all that difficult. Class expectations will be kept simple, straightforward and made clear to all students in my class.
I also firmly believe in acknowledging positive student behavior. It is important that I not only notice misbehavior but also cooperation, initiative, kindness and a willingness to help others. As trivial as it may sound, eye contact must accompany these compliments. Person-to-person interactions must not become a thing of the past, even more so-I would argue-in our social media immersed world.
Students in my classroom will be given specific guidelines for some assignments but also given more flexibily and freedom with others. It has been said that, "Knowledge is Power" but I would add to that, "The application of knowledge is even more powerful." I will give my students opportunities to be responsible, innovative and independent. I want my students to learn from me but to also be self-learners and take responsibility for their own learning. This only will come if they are given the opportunity to do so.
Above all, I want to be an honest role model for my students. This includes acknowledging when I am wrong, apologizing, and admitting when I do not know something. Teachers are leaders but they are also humans. I am not only exposing my students to the art world, I am also providing an image of a balanced, genuine and decent adult. All of my students, past and present, should know that I am approachable, despite my ability to command respect when needed.